Sunday, October 31, 2010

I shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Article first published as Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett on Blogcritics.

The problem with witches is that most people remember the magic and not the everyday and mundane duties that they perform. Tiffany Arching is just such a witch; she is the witch of the Chalk. She is present for all the births and the deaths; she takes care of hurts and makes people feel better. She is paid in whatever her patients have handy, usually old sheets or old boots, but either way it comes in handy.

Something is happening, and people are beginning talk, and grumble, and point. It does not take much for people to turn on their witch. There is something evil in the wind; it comes with a stench that precedes his coming, and an ancient curse that he means to level at Tiffany. He is known as the cunning man and has been defeated many times, keeping him from destroying all witches. She does not quite understand the danger, and has other pressing things on her mind.

The real evil begins when a young woman is beaten by her father, causing her to lose the child that had been conceived. Tiffany must take her to the wee folk for the healing of forgetfulness. When she is accused of killing the old Baron and stealing his money, she is arrested and she finds that her friends are not acting as they should. There is something happening, that same evil is being perpetrated upon her friend’s memories of things past. And as the whispering continues, Tiffany finds that she must face the evil and win, for if the evil can inhabit her body, as is his plan, then he will be able to destroy all the witches. She has awakened this foul creature and is now responsible to send him back to that place from where he came.

As her problems continue and she looks for solutions she sees the mark of this evil in every city and place she goes. Will she save herself and the witches from this darkness that is hunting and haunting her? Will the Chalk and her friends return to normal?

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett is one of the books in his best selling Disc World series. These books are ingenious and well received by both young and adult readers. In I Shall Wear Midnight, Pratchett has developed a story with a chilling darkness, and a wonderfully spooky character as the cunning man. Tiffany is growing up and finds that all is not what it seems, the new Baron, her childhood friend is not the man for her, and she is dealing with a harsher world then the one she is used too. She will have to rely on omens and portents, as well as learn to really trust her friends to put the evil in its place. And in return her friends will have to have faith in her abilities as they too are drug into her dealings with this new evil.

And while there is a darkness, it is well balanced with a fun and frivolous group of characters, keeping the story fun and yet dangerous. There are her wee friends the Nac Mac Feegles, boisterous and dangerous as ever, never in doubt about their witch, ready at all times to defend her. They are quite querulous and noisy, and have a tendency to follow her everywhere. They add to both the danger and the hilarity of the story, sometimes keeping you chuckling at their antics.

I would recommend this book to all those who love the Disc World series, with the understanding that this is a bit darker and more grown up read. It is a charming book with gregarious characters that draw you in. The cunning man is a well developed and sinister shadow, and as nasty as can be. This would be a great addition to anyone’s library. These books are sure to be classics.

Rating 4/5
I Shall Wear Midnight

This book was received free through Good Reads First Reads. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vermillion By Kathleen Scott

Posted first at The Romance Reviews

Kristabelle gathered the tendrils of light as she called the soul forward, this soul, not yet ready to leave its body, but coaxed away by her magic. Her heart is shattered and tears stream down her face. There was never a time during this nightmare where she ever expected that she would be pulling the soul from her youngest brother. Saving her families life was the only thing keeping her at the task that the clerics had given her. As she moved the tendrils into the beautiful glass, and sealed the edges, she knew her life would never be the same.

Kristabelle St. Lucas is an etheralmancer, with the rare skills of working with stained glass. The magic of etheralmancy allows her to help those stranded in this world, to release their souls so that they might move on. The clerics have abused her talent in making the glass for the Portamere Cathedral. They have used threats against her family to force her into punishing the unbelievers by taking their souls and sealing them in the glass for the Church. This is punishment to keep the protests at bay but also a punishment for Kristabelle and her magic. She is devastated by this abuse and yet she must protect her family at all costs.

Darius Castillo is her guard, and he has a secret. He knows all about Kristabelle's pain and plans on rescuing her at all costs. He belongs to a secret order that works for the Magus, the true head of the Church. They have heard rumors of these clerics and their twisted interpretation of church doctrine, and Darius is sent in undercover to ferret out the truth. He is trained in the way of the sword and is a little out of his element as an acolyte. He is entranced by Kristabelle, for her art as well as her beauty. He has seen the price she pays each time she takes a soul before it's time, and his horror knows no bounds.

As Darius comes clean with Kristabelle, and allows her to know his true nature, they are drawn together. She is very attracted to him and finds in him a strength that allows her to trust again. From the beginning their every touch burns bright. The magic of Kristobelle's power helps to build an unbreakable bond bringing them together as fate would decree. Their love is a powerful, physical force, each glance has meaning, and each touch is an exquisite fire, burning to the very depth of their souls. Darius is determined to find proof before it is too late to save her.

In Vermillion, Kathleen Scott has built a world of magic and religion. And as often happens both or often twisted in such a way that it is no longer recognizable as what is really is all about. In this world she has built a cast of characters that are truly unforgettable. You can feel the evil leaching from the clerics of Portamere, with their twisted and unnatural thinking. You can understand the hatred and dismay felt by the townspeople, as each of them lose family and friends to the etheralmancy. Their pain has focused their hatred in the wrong direction and the blame falls to Kristabelle. You can empathize with them at the same time you are championing Darius and Kristabelle, urging them to find the answers they need to put an end to the atrocities performed in the name of religion. There is both beauty and madness in this story, and both are right at the surface, ready to be brought forth.


Kristabelle is forced to work her magic on the town,s people of her home, in order to save her family. Many of those that she is forced to use her magic on, are well known to her. She is belittled by the clerics and spat upon by the townspeople. The souls she extracts are sealed in the stained glass of the Church as part of the process. She is lost and without hope.

Daruis is working undercover for the Magus, the head of the Church, trying to find out if the rumors leaking from the area are true. If they can find proof, the corrupted clerics will be arrested and the Church will regain its place. As the madness increases and the local clerics begin to use even more heathenish means to punish those who they feel are against them, the horror builds. It will be up to Kristabelle with her magic and Darius with his sword to determine who will win. Will they be in time to save the sanctity of the Church, and return the stolen souls to their rightful hosts?

Rating 5/5
This e-book was received through The Romance Reviews from the publisher. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.

Hunter's Moon Magic by Sandra SooKoo

Reviewed first on The Romance Reviews

Judith Goode finished putting the final touches on the gown that was supposed to be for her romantic tryst with Percy. The black velvet, used to make the dress, was supplied by Percy, her lover, which is what made it the perfect gown for their reunion. Judith was afraid though, she had been labeled as a witch and knew that she would be arrested and hung before Percy was able to rescue her. As she completed her task of love, she used all her healing craft to imbue the dress with love and hope, knowing that should she be arrested, that all the love she had for Percy would not be realized. If she can't wear the dress then she is determined that any women that wears the dress will have her true love dreams realized.

The sharp knock at the door interrupts her musings, and she finishes packing the beautiful gown with care, her brother must make sure the gown preserved and passed along their bloodline to their decedents. As the knock came again, she handed the package to her assistant and wiped the tears from her eyes. She would meet her fate with strength and honor, and she would stare into the eyes of her accusers, she would die but it would be on her own terms.
October 29th, I692 Ipswich, Massachusetts

Judith is a woman with healing lore during the 1600's in Massachusetts during a time of widespread hysteria. Many women and children were accused of witchcraft, as well as devil followers and were either burned at the stake or hung to death. She is one of these women whose life it cut short before her time. There is magic in love and with Judith's skill with herbs, that love is passed down through the generations.

Percy is bold and handsome; he is a seafaring man and the only man for Judith. In his estimation he will be able to rescue Judith at the last hour prior to her hanging. His love if fierce and burns brightly.

Throughout the years the dress has been handed down; the gown is meant to bring true lovers together, but on each occasion fate was not ready. Love was ignited and burned brightly until life got in it's way. Judith is trapped and until their hearts beat again as one, she will not be able to be with Percy. She has one last opportunity for this connection, or all will be lost.

October 31st, 2008 Indianapolis, Indiana

Jacob Howson loves the research he has been conducting on his family tree. Imagine belonging to a family that is descended from an accused witch. As he researched Judith Goode and her death by hanging, he was sad that she met the same fate as many of those others accused during that time in history. He is a strong and handsome man with a heart of gold. While he is at the dry cleaner picking up his laundry he ends up with an extra item on his load. It is a soft black gown and he tries to return it to the laundry. The owner will not take it as it was signed in to him. As Jacob turns to leave he runs into a young woman also bringing in her laundry. She does not move and he is knocked to the ground.

Lexy Brown, is beautiful and smart, she is challenging and very opinionated. Brushing against the plastic surrounding the dress she feels an immediate connection with Jacob. She is suspicious and ignores this feeling as she leaves the cleaner.

Jacob too feels that connection. Afraid he will not see her again, he follows her across the street and finally gets her to speak to him. He uses up his last nerve and asks her to accompany him to the Halloween party he attending later. Much to her surprise she agrees. She allows him to accompany her home and when she finds she has nothing to wear for the party, Jacob remembers the dress. When she finally agrees to wear it, she finds that it fits as if made for her. Again whether it is the dress or if it is just that their souls having found each other, Jacob and Lexy feel a strong connection. Their glances are white hot, and the passion inevitable. Each look and every lingering touch draws them closer. The dynamics are sizzling and the story pulls you in.

This is a first class and fun story full of charm and humor. It also gives us glimpses into the shadowy history of the trials of witchcraft and the hysteria it created. Women and children, young and old where accused during those dreadful years, and many innocents were condemned to death. While the story dealt with this horror, it remained focused on the bright and shiny hope of love and how it endures through the ages.

I was disappointed with the length of the story; it did not give the author enough time to really develop her characters. I was able to get a feel for a few of them, but the story was such a beautiful one to be cut short in this way. It was still very well written and fun. I would recommend it as the story is very innovative and moving. It is very unique from what I have read before.


Judith Goode is condemned as a witch in 1600 Massachusetts. The dress she has made for her romantic tryst with her lover, has just been completed. Her faith in love is strong so she imbues the dress with different herbs, so that anyone wearing it will find love. The story gives us the life and times of Judith Goode and then fast forwads us to the 1900’s where another of her decedents comes upon the dress. This too is a beautiful and doomed love, a love of passion and souls, fate and it fickleness.

With Judith still pulling the strings, trying to create that perfect love, we again fast forward to 2008 and our current time. Here we have a story of love and longing, of a passion that burns, and a pair of souls who may have reached the end of their journey. Has Judith finally set the stage for a lasting love? Will our final lovers be the ones to help her reunite with her one true love?

Rating 3/5

This Book was received as a free E-Book from the Publisher. All Opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Zan-Gah (A Prehistoric Advenure) by Allan Richard Shickman

Article first published as Book Review: Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman on Blogcritics.

In the land of his people Zan, meant hunter. He is a young man in his early teens, preparing for a hunt that could bring more death to his people. It will be his first hunt, not one for hunger, but to keep their tribe
safe and for revenge of the death of a youngster. Once a lion has tasted of human they would not be safe while it still roamed. He would help to hunt it with his father, his uncle and the rest of the men of his tribe.

The hunt required them to create a large circle around the animal and make is smaller and smaller, thereby trapping the animal in such a way that he was attacked on all sides, more targets to confuse and annoy it. This lion immediately saw a weakness in the line, a line of tall straight unmovable objects but one. There was one weakness in that impenetrable wall. The lion leaped directly at Zan. With no recourse, Zen stood firm holding his
spear steadied by the ground. The lion was impaled, but Zan was marked by his claws. The cry immediately went up…..Zan-Gah, Zan-Gah. He had now just become a man, Zan the rock, immovable as a rock, solid in the face of danger.

As the celebration died down, Zan has made a life changing decision. He, who had been born one of a twin, had lost his brother the prior year. He did not feel that loss in his soul. Because this was so, he knows that his brother is not dead. Originally his family had thought that he too had been killed by one of the great cats, but with no success at finding his body, Zan was now sure he was lost, or taken by one of the many other tribes as a slave. With his newly found manhood, Zan has decided that his task has been set. He will follow the trail of his brother and not return home without him. A time of growth in a young mans life, of making a mark on the world. Will he reach his objective?

This is the story of Zan and his adventures in the prehistoric land of earth, living off the land, learning the customs of the others and searching for his lost twin.

In Zan-Gah, Allan Richard Shickman has given us a glimpse into the earth of long ago. He has described a time and place, rich with imagination, and believable in context. The country is described in detail and the descriptions bring the time to life. We meet different groups of cavemen and learn much of a culture that could have been how life really was on prehistoric earth. The weapons, and skins, as well as the face paintings are described in vivid detail. It is easy to visualize the meeting and fear of the most vicious of the groups.

Zan is a strong young man with a goal that he has set for himself. He will not let anything deter him. He has seen the ways of the world since he was a child and understands the dangers that he will face. He willingly accepts the challenge. He is extremely brave, and well tutored in the intricacies of dealing with others. Because there have been wars between the tribes for as long as could be remembered, there is knowledge of their ways as well.

The story is well told and the descriptions make it easy to visualize the time and place. This is a great book for the young adult reader, but also a fun story for anyone that would be interested in a story of bravery and courage. A story rich in life and adventure.

Rating 4/5
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure

This book was recieved as a free copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own based of my reading and understanding of the material.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Invincible by Joan Johnston

First Reviewed on The Romance Reviews

Isabella Wharton Benedict, Duchess of Blackthorne, such a strong nom de plume, and yet what did any of it mean. Bella is dying, slowly and surely her heart is beginning to fail. It could be immediately of a heart attack or possibly three years down the road with good care. The damage is done and there is no going back. Now her only hope is that she can make amends, both with her husband and her children. While her marriage was never easy it grew into a cauldron of heat and fire, a passion that for her would never fade. Would she be able to find a way to explain and find her husbands forgiveness? He could not be aware of her failing health; she wanted him back on terms of love, not pity.

Now was a time to finally be there for her children. Could she be the catalyst to help them find the love that she had experienced? Would she be able to help them to realize that meeting of their one true soul mate, that passion that burns for a lifetime? There was little time, and with five of them, time was of the essence. How would she gain back their trust? There was so little time. And Bull, her bullheaded man, would there be enough time to heal the damage? Her heart, damaged beyond repair, was a viper, ready to strike her down without warning.

Bella is a very strong and determined woman. She has experienced so many difficulties in her life, and appears to be very misunderstood. There is a story there, one that is not fleshed out in this book, but will keep me reading the rest of this series because I really feel her pain. While she has earned much of what comes her way, she is human and has made many mistakes. While it takes the fear of her death to make her realize that there must be some closure for her children, but also for her own marriage, she had every intention of making amends. She just really felt there would be more time. She is afraid and lonely; there is much to do, to make it right.

In this book of the series we meet her son Max, who unknown to her is also a British secret agent. She knows a great deal about a woman that Max had been involved with as a teenager, and she knows that this is the woman for him. With her connections and her money she vows to bring them together.

Kristin Lassiter is a mom, and a FBI agent. As a teen she was a serious contender in tennis. In the last ten years her life as revolved around her daughter, Flick. Kristin is serious and smart, but has had some difficulties in her life, as well as her current job. She had been under review recently for using her gun, and was now under review again for a similar situation. Because she is on suspension from the FBI, her boss is loaning her to the British for an investigation of a possible murder plot against the United States president. The information is that the rumors are coming through a possible connection with tennis and that they need someone on the inside to ferret out the possible culprits. Kristin is a shoo-in due to her background. Her only problem is that she will be paired up with Max Benedict, a British undercover operative, and also the young man that broke her heart years ago on the tennis circuit. He is also unknowingly Flicks father. She has never quite forgotten that love, or even the friendship that preceded it. His betrayal as left a scar that will be hard to heal.

Max is a strong and resilient person. He grew up in a splintered home, with parents that were too involved with each other to pay attention to their children. He does not believe in marriage because of what he has had to endure. He has some very deep hurts that make him so very much human. He loves tennis, but left and moved on to his current job. He was cut very deeply as a teen, when he fell in love with another young tennis player years ago. They began as friends, and they were strong friends, but that all ended in one night of passion. The next day, all was as though it never happened, Kristin left for home, and he had never seen or heard from her again. He tried for some time but she would neither take his calls nor even respond to him in anyway. When he realizes that he needs her expertise to find a murderer, he is cautious but curious. Will there still be sparks. While he feels that he lost that love, he is still extremely attracted to her, for all the same reasons from the first time around. Just being near her still sets his heart aflame and the heat is thick with tension whenever they get together. The fires kindles, but he vows that love does not enter the picture; the passion is inevitable, pulling them, no regrets, no excuses, just plain uninhibited sex. But then what is that knot he is feeling, deep in his heart, dull and constant, hard to ignore?

Flick, a beautiful and precocious child, she will be the one to bring them together or tear them apart. She is Kristin’s secret, her joy and her connection to Max. But Flick is not an easy child. She is strong willed and extremely smart. She too has learned to play tennis from the time she was old enough and is better then both of her parents. She is so funny and sweet, but also just says it like it is. She is enamored of big words and throws them out in sentences, confusing and wowing her audience. She is a fun and strong cement for this wonderful cast of characters. Though her unselfconscious honesty we begin to see in Bella, a vulnerability, making you just wans to help her reach her goals, and it is also through Flick that we realize that one-Love is not just a tennis score.


Bella, the Countess of Blackthorne is dying. In an effort to make amends she has decided to use the time left to her, to help her five children find love. She also wants to rekindle her love with her estranged husband. The children are not very receptive to her invitation, but she is finally able to communicate with her son Max. Because of her status and wealth, she has hired private detectives and knows almost everything about him and his first real love. She also knows that he has a daughter and is determined to bring her into the fold. Now she just needs to create the perfect plan to make the puzzle pieces all fall into place. Just as in tennis, the winner takes it all.

Rating 5/5

This book was received as a free e-book from Net Galley. All opinions are my own based off my independent reading and understanding of the material.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Petchy Maligula by Stan Carter

Article first published as Book Review: Petchy Maligula by Stan Carter on Blogcritics.

Set in an amusing parody of earth, a doppelganger if you will of the very place we call home is a distinctly odd but interesting mystery. There is only one person capable of finding the answers; Petchy Maligula, Private Investigator.

The heart throb of the History Channel, the host of “I Dig the Past”, Faladan Pala has disappeared. Petchy, along with hundreds of other women are absolutely devastated, he has been rumored to have been kidnapped and Petchy is on the case. Faladan is a handsome, lithe and friendly man, loved by those around him.

Petchy, as she would describe herself is definitely unlithe. In point of fact, she is not even good looking. She is a huge woman, but a very capable one. As she is drawn deeper into the mysterious absence of Faladan Pala, bodies begin to pile up. Different factions of the city and surrounding areas become immersed in the case. As each new clue turns up, it only creates further mystery.

The plot thickens as the History Channel hires an alternate host to temporarily replace Faladan, sending the investigation into false directions. It will take all of Petchy’s interesting and bizarre techniques to set the course to rescue her hero. And while it is an oddly straight forward, albeit strange and foreboding mystery, leading our heroine into untold areas, there is no way that she will have been able to foresee the bizarre and unusual ending.

In Petchy Maligula, Stan Carter has brought us an earth, in a parallel existence, just a bit different then the one that we know. It is inhabited by humans as well as aliens. Magic is still somewhat rare, but a very acceptable practice. The main setting for the story is the city of Betroit in Mechigan. Do not check your glasses, this is the correct spelling. This story is littered with this type of distinction. It is a dangerous and amusing world, so close to our own and yet just a bit off kilter. I was alternately amused and annoyed at times by the parables, but always entertained.

Petchy is an extremely interesting character and a very ample heroine. She dabbles a little in magic but is also bestowed with paranormal abilities. Her girl Friday’s are both ghosts, that do her bidding, sometimes gracefully, often times not. Lady Cresta Victaria Menden reached this state by being the thirteenth victim of Jack the slasher. Liddy McDade, her other helper was run over by a trolley. Liddy was also eleven at the time of her death, but she is a funny and willful ghost. Both have distinct personalities and add their own slant to the wild and crazy happenings in the story.

Petchy always carries her boob gun, very well encased to her bosom, and is a crack shot. She is sarcastic and crude, having belonged to a grrls (correct spelling) gang in her earlier years. She is the great, great, etc., etc. grand daughter to the Empress Maligula, a character in her own right, known for a particular appetite, and a device that was used on the male slaves that did not please her. This is also a part of the mystique of Petulanta as Petchy was christened at birth.

I enjoyed this story although it was a little difficult to get through. I generally read quickly but because of the different spelling I had to go back a few times to make sure I was correct. It is sometime a laugh out loud, maybe a chuckle, or just a slightly annoying read, but the story line is a winner. In all its absurdity, I found that I really enjoyed it. I believe that you will either love it or hate it, but it certainly captures the imagination. This is a fun and frivolous read, humor and imagination at its height.

Rating 4/5
Petchy Maligula

This book was received a a free download from the Author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Desire Me by Robyn DeHart

Sabine Tobias is a beautiful young woman in the prime of her life. The year is 1888 and she is still unsure as to why she was not chosen as the new guardian, when her mother passed on. The villagers made their choice and that was that. Her mother had been training her in the ways of a guardian, but Sabine really felt the villagers got it right when the chosen was her Aunt Agnes. But why then did her mother begin her training?

In “Desire Me”, Robyn DeHart has done a wonderful job creating a cast of characters, in a time a place that draws the imagination. Sabine lost her mother when she was still young and was raised by her aunts in a small village in order to keep their real identity a secret. There are small pockets of these villages throughout England where the inhabitants keep to themselves and remain hidden as some of the last decedents of the original inhabitants of Atlantis. As the rumors and signs of the prophesy increase Sabine and her Aunts move to London to open a shop. Here they will hide in plain sight and use the very thing that set them apart, the elixir, in a crème for ladies skin. This will keep their nemesis from finding them easily.

Sabine has to learn how to fit in, and she also has to find a way to know more about the fabled map of Atlantis, in order to learn more of the legend. Her origin puts her at risk but she must remain strong, and for some reason she feels that it is up to her to save her Aunts from exposure and to help them get in touch with the other guardians.

Her Aunt Agnes, the guardian, is a wonderful character, in the guardianship she is the healer. She is elderly but quite lively and very likable. Throughout the story we find out new and unique things about her that create such a yearning, I wanted her for my own family. She had a forbidden love from her youth that was forever in her heart. The love is so heartfelt and genuine it is a shock to find it also so forbidden. Her sisters Lydia and Calliope have their own idiosyncrasies and make for an interesting and fun group of characters. They are as close as friends as they are sisters and each rally around when any threat should occur. I was quite amused during one episode and could actually visualize it when they showed up, one with an old pistol and the other with a fireplace poker. They certainly have certain panache.

Our jaunty and extremely handsome hero of the piece, Maxwell Barrett is also the Marquis of Lindberg. He also belongs to a group called Solomon’s, a selective and secretive group of treasure hunters. Max/s whole life has revolved around proving that Atlantis really existed. At the tender age of seventeen he risked his life and found buried deep in a cave, an actual map of the fabled land. Off and on throughout his life he had been approached about the map, but his visit from Sabine was most unique and piqued his curiosity. He is very astute and incredibly intelligent so he is not fooled by her naivety when questioning him on the map. He is very attracted to her for her beauty but also finds her aloofness a challenge.

Spencer Cole, the chosen, is the nemesis of this story, and Robyn has created a character that is steeped in evil and easy to hate. He is oily and elusive believing his own hype while he stalks and murders members of the Queens guard. He considers himself above reproach and the murders as necessary to create the world as he was meant to rule.


The inhabitants of Atlantis have now started escaping their beautiful but doomed homeland. As the destruction continues, three ships leave port each carrying one of the guardians of the elixir, the nectar of Atlantis, understood by some to be the possible fountain of youth. Somehow the ships are separated and as landfall is reached so begin the separate settlements of the last of the remaining people of Atlantis. As years pass into decades and then to centuries, the tales and lore, as well as the guardianships are passed down in order to keep the hope of Atlantis alive. The guardianship is passed from father to son until the most recent guardianship known as the healers. This guardian did not have male offspring and so the guardianship was passed on to the first female in history.

Sabine Tobias is the daughter of that female guardian, and while not chosen by her village as the next guardian, her Aunt was chosen instead, she has taken on the challenge of saving the rest of her race. The signs have come that the guardians are under attack and that the elixir will be stolen to create an unbeatable army, an army that will take over the world. The prophesy makes mention of a weapon, the dove, which will save the world. It is this weapon that Sabine plans on finding. In order to get more information she needs to see the map of Atlantis rumored to be in the hands of Maxwell Barrett, the Marquis of Lindberg. She starts a madcap masquerade to try and relieve him of the map. Max is intrigued and is determined to find more about this beautiful and very elusive woman. As they work at cross purposes, each trying to outguess and outmaneuver the other, they do not realize they are being pulled into a dangerous game. And as murder and madness surrounds them they have to decide what is important.

This is a well written story of love and betrayal, where faith in humanity can overcome evil intentions.

Rating 4/5
Desire Me (The Legend Hunters)

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Ghost Of A Flea By John Brinling

Article first published as Book Review: The Ghost Of A Flea by John Brinling on Blogcritics.

Life for Roger Davis is mundane, he works a job that sucks the energy from him, he is married to Natalie, unhappy with how their love has warped since marriage, and one of his best friends Gideon, while a great person to talk philosophy with, has a keen and cutting mind, and a way of making Roger feel very small.

As he spends his usual one night a week with Gideon, defending his life and defending his wife, he is ready to snap. Gideon seems to see this and changes direction with their conversation, talking about all kinds of nonsensical things. He finally brings out a small panel, painted in tempura, asking Robert what he thinks of it. Robert is about done, feeing that Gideon is again setting him up, but Gideon just replies that the painting is a copy of one hanging in London, and is called The Ghost of a Flea. As Gideon tries to get Roger to relax, he invites him as he always does during their weekly meeting, to have a smoke. Tonight Roger finally gives in. He has never smoked marijuana before in his life, and he is amazed how calming it is.

Life as he knows it has just changed for Robert. All of a sudden things begin to happen. He hears conversations that are not happening, he loses things, but when he looks again they are exactly where he thought they should be. He gets called into a meeting by one of his work colleagues, and when he shows up no one else is there. When questioned, his friend knows nothing about a call. He initially wonders if it is a side effect from the marijuana but when he discusses it with Gideon he is assured that it would not affect him in that way. Here he also meets Peggy Curtis, a good friend of Gideon‘s, a very attractive woman that actually comes on to him. He is worried and frustrated unable to understand the mind games that he feels are being played on him.

Then his friend Gideon is found brutally murdered, shortly after Roger has left his apartment. And as he tries to figure out the pieces, he runs into Peggy again. Not sure what her part in all of this is, he is distrustful, but she knows so much of what is happening. As they work together to find the clues, at every turn, someone they have been close to or in contact with is found murdered. And who do they go to; even the police seem to be involved? Natalie, his wife, has gone off the deep end, she has moved out of their home, but even then Robert can not go home, he is now a suspect. As his friends are murdered, a young girl is kidnapped and he is now on the run for his life.

He has been cut off from everyone he has known and his only ally, Peggy is possibly at the root of everything happening to him. Who does he trust and will he be able to find Cathy, the young girl in time. He holds the key to it all, a puppet on the string, dancing in what ever way he is directed. But who is the puppet master? He is known only as the Clown. In this fast paced story of greed and murder, will the winner take it all?

This is a well written, and fast paced book. The Ghost Of A Flea is full of surprises and constantly keeps you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. Peggy is a strong heroine, while Roger is a very weak counterpart. As the story progresses he gains strength and confidence and actually seems to enjoy some of the action. The characters are well developed and written with exacting detail. It is easy to see them in your mind as the action takes hold. As the plot thickens it gets a little confusing, as almost every one that Roger runs into is suspect. Are the police on the take? Who do they trust when every were they turn there is murder and madness? Roger tries to steer clear of the danger but when everyone and every thing he holds dear is threatened he calls on his strength and cunning to find the mastermind, because only then will all be made clear and the madness find an ending. John Brinling veers left, then right, and then somewhere in the middle in this madcap game of suspense.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves suspense and mystery. Be prepared to be surprised and on the rollercoaster ride of your life. The twists and turns keep coming and it is anyone’s guess where it will all turn out. And really, in the end, it is a love story of note. Not everything is as it seems.

Rating 4/5
The Ghost Of A Flea
This Book was received as a free E-Book from the Author. Any opinion expressed is my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
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The Summoning Fire by David Michael

Article first published as Book Review: The Summoning Fire by David Michael on Blogcritics

Prepare to be spooked in the most unusual way. The Summoning Fire by David Michael has such an effect. When you are in Hell on Earth almost anything can happen and usually does. Devils and demons roam at will, and death is as common as coffee.

Reece-anne and her lover Sam have been assassins for the Old Man for the last few years. It is a brutal job and their initiation was worse then can be imagined. They travel together, Sam with her katana, a beautiful black sword, and Reece with her trusty shotgun. Death is just another day in Hell on Earth and even these weapons wielded by two women attract no outward attention. The Old Man is one of the most prolific of the crime lords, having escaped from hell, he is having the time of his life. He can eat his fill of the plump human tourists that make their way into Hell on Earth from Suburbia, and he can inflict pain at will. Reece and Sam feel it is time to break free. This is exactly what the Old Man has been waiting for as he needs the blood of one of them to create a summoning.

Luring them to his Penthouse, knowing their plans for him, he sets his trap. Deciding that Sam is the most dangerous of the two, he makes his choice and she is the one whose blood is used in the summoning. Her death will bring the very horror that is necessary in his plans for the earth, and will also help him to control this creature of the dark. Little does he realize that he has also created a different type of killer, that of Reece herself. Madness overcomes her in her despair and anger. He leaves her in misery secure in his invulnerability.

As darkness descends in the form of the summoned, death and disaster follow. The Old Man, realizing he has made a mistake by leaving Reece alive, sends the summoned after her. At every turn there is something--the summoned fights the command from his summoner--and yet because the summoner know its true name, it must follow his command. What is it about Reece Ann, that even the most unearthly blackness fights the command to destroy her? Will she get her revenge and release the torment from her very soul? Will evil truly win the war?

David Michael has written a unique and interesting cast of characters, and chose to make Reece the heroine. Or did he?

This is a story of horror and pain, and not for the weak at heart. It is graphic and sometimes cruel but always with an underlying theme. It is set in a time and place where all hell has broken loose literally. The Princes of hell have created an exit from that very place, many of them being destroyed in the process, leaving the Old Man as he is called, as the leader. He is a Prince of darkness, but refuses to be named, as true names have power. He is cruel and callus and his visage is more then horrible, it creates both fascination and fear.

The creature of darkness is the stuff of nightmares, absorbing any living thing it touches, learning from memories of those absorbed, leaving only wet skeletal remains behind. You are alternately horrified by it and at times cheering it; somehow David Michael has given it a somewhat human thought process, through its absorbtion of its victims. While it is a creature of loathing, it is also a creature pulled from it's home, following directions from a hateful master, wanting only to return to that place from whence it came.

This is a fast paced and extremely creative story, full of violence and horror. I would recommend reading this book in the full daylight unless you are sharing it with friends. Cover the windows and turn on the lights, be prepared to be scared.

Rating 4/5
The Summoning Fire

This book was recieved free from the Author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Diggers Bones by Paul Mansfield Keefe

Article first published as Book Review: Digger's Bones by Paul Mansfield Keefe on Blogcritics.

Tarek Rashid (Digger) is Angie’s best friend. He is the only one of her colleagues that stood by her in the aftermath of a career ending decision. Angie published her findings before completing all the work only to find that her information was incorrect Angie is shattered, her world has collapsed, and she leaves behind archeology, her life long dream.

While Angie Cooper is finishing her fluff piece for the paper, her new job, she receives a call unexpectedly from Digger. He is frantic and it is important that they meet.

As they sit across from each other, Angie notices that Digger is not himself, he continues to glance around frantically as he tells her that not only has one of her other colleagues, Professor Rothchild, been murdered, but he has what is the find of a life time. He will need her help. As he is talking, a well-dressed man in a business suit sits next to Digger at the table. The man, after asking him what he has told Angie so far, pulls out a gun and shoots Digger in the head.

Initially paralyzed with fear, Angie breaks away, running for her life, horrified at what she has just witnessed. The information that Digger has shared sounds unreal, and makes no sense. The Bones that he and Professor Rothchild have uncovered hold the clues to the murders of these two men. Angie makes a decision to follow up on Diggers clues and solve the mystery of the murder as well as the mystery of the bones.

Little does she know that the decision she has made will lead her into a past that will shake the very foundation of the religious world, as we know it. The information will lead her into a world of fear and death, betrayal and disbelief, but it will also heal a part of her that she thought bruised beyond all hope.

In Diggers Bones, Paul Mansfield Keefe has brought to life a possibility of epic proportions. Keefe has written a story that is well researched, and just unbelievable enough to be believable. As Angie and her friends find each of the clues, set up almost as an old-fashioned scavenger hunt, Angie herself appears to be the target of a maniac. She escapes death at every turn, and it appears that there are at least two different factions interested in keeping them from finding Digger Bones. She is a very flawed individual and yet she is endearing, she makes mistakes but has such a deep level of trust you really root for her, and yet you know that one of those closest to her is a betrayer. She will have to dig deep within herself to find the answers to every thing that has lead her to this pass. She will have to leave behind that past in order to move forward and we are there, through this book, for the journey.

Their adversaries seem to be able to track their every move, and they need to understand how this is happening. They have no idea in advance where the next clue will lead them. Is there a traitor in their midst?

As Angie struggles to bring the information to light, there are those just as determined to bury the truth. Angie struggles to find the correct way to make the truth known and what she finds is that not only has Digger left her the clues, but he has also left her the answers to the very heart of the discovery. Is it right to bring information into the world that could damage the very structure of what makes the governments of the world? Digger’s answer through his clues, offers the only solution viable.

Diggers Bones is a roller coaster of emotion, this story is full of surprises and the ending is no different. The epilogue was an exciting addition to the story and drew it all together. You will learn to love many of the characters, and take a personal stake in the outcome of their adventure.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a great adventure, but I also believe that a book club or reading group would find a great deal of different and interesting, and possibly controversial information to talk about.
Digger's Bones (Angie Cooper Series)

Rating 4/5

This book was received as a free e-book from the Author. All opinions expressed are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.
Book Blogger Hop

This week's question comes from Christina who blogs at The Paperback Princesses.

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

I  always continue to read. I do however pick up another book so that I have something I am interested in going at the same time.  I alternate because after all I do read for pleasure. What I find about books is that just because I do not like it, there are others that would love it, so unless the grammar and spelling are horrendous, I continue to read and give what I hope is a fair review, that is why I got into blogging. I have been lucky so far and have not found anything too bad. Great question Christina.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

This review was originally written for the Romance Reviews

Ai Li is the number six child of the family Chang during the Tang Dynasty. Trained in the ancient art of butterfly swords by her grandmother, she is no meek woman, she is a warrior. As with most women of the time she is sent off to be married to Li Tao, to help cement relations between their lands. Ai Li learns of her intendeds duplicity as well as his involvement in the death of her brother and realizes that he is a traitor. She takes the advice of an old lieutenant, Wu, dresses as a young lad and escapes her promised husband in order to warn her father of his treachery.

Ai Li is a strong and independent woman, but is also very respectful of her parents and their traditions. While she does not want to marry a man she does not know, she follows her family’s wishes.

When she escapes, she knowingly breaks tradition, but feels that her family would understand when they learn of Li Taos part in the death of her number four brother. It is during this juncture that she meets Ryam a barbarian from another country. She is kind to a stranger when she could just ignore him; she does not treat him as most foreigners are treated. She is a mix of strength and femininity with a very good heart.

Ryam is trying to forget his part in the death of his comrades. He is in a strange land with nothing but his sword and his wits to protect him. When he first spots Ai Li, she is dressed as a young man. He sees through her disguise immediately and is amused that she seems to be pulling it off. He gets involved when Ai Li is being attacked, where he then becomes her one man rescue. Not that she is not capable and very deadly with her butterfly swords as he sees for himself. He is fascinated by the contrast between the purity of her womanliness and the strength of her skills with the swords.

As Ryam agrees to stay with her till she gets home to Changan, they run into many serious satiations where each is required to draw on their deepest internal spirit to get them through. They are being pursued by Ai Li’s bridegroom, Li Taos, who will not allow himself to lose face by her desertion. As a consequence of them traveling together, they begin to learn about each other as well as develop a trust based of mutual respect. What neither of them anticipates is the attraction, which is there right from the beginning. On Ryam’s part this attraction is visceral and raw; he is hard put to keep himself away from her. The glances cause heat and you can feel his tension and his urgency. Since he has made himself her protector, he continues to try to protect her against himself. Ai Li also feels the attraction but is very aware of the situation she is in. She is still betrothed to another man, and while she at least hopes her family will understand why she has left and possibly caused them embarrassment, she is also even more aware of his foreignness and how it will be accepted by her family. Every touch, every look, between the two of them has you yearning for more. There must be a way for them to be together, as their tension strains at the very bond that holds them together.

This is a wonderful story of family and how they come together; it is about learning to trust yourself as well as those around you. Jeannie Lin brings the time and place together in such an amazing way, almost as though you were watching it through the words. This is a brutal time and place in history but also a time of the most famous of love stories, the most beautiful poetry and the most exquisite fashion . She has brought us to a place in history and brought it to life; she has allowed us to see what many have never had a glimpse of. The story was well told, the romance bold but sweet, and the characters were exactly what was needed to bring it all together. There were a few times in the story where it bogged down a bit, causing it to lose momentum, but over all, it was a wonderful read.


Ai Li has escaped her intended husband in order to inform her father of his treachery as well as his involvement in the death of her brother. She has not gotten very far before her would be rescuers decide to become her captors. Ryam is unwittingly drawn into this by the kindness that she has shown him. When he saves her, only to be saved by her in return, they become traveling companions as she races to reach her father.

They are pursued by her intended Li Tao, and run into danger and excitement at every turn. Ai Li is well trained in the ancient art of Butterfly Swords by her Grandmother, unbeknownst by her mother. This is not what well bred young women do. They are obedient and follow their father’s wishes.

Ai Li is a mixture of amazing strength as well as a source of innocence. Ryam is a barbarian in a land of refinement. They are meant to be together, but they may be in the wrong time and the wrong place. Butterfly Swords is a fast paced and energetic book with wonderful characters. Will they be able to break the bonds of obedience, and what will happen to their forbidden love?

Rating 4/5

This book is a free ARC ebook received from Net Galley. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Secret of Ka By Christopher Pike

Sara Wilcox is spending the summer with her Father in Turkey, What she finds is that she is on her own most of the time due to his job at Bectar, a hydroelectric construction site. Sara finds the language difficult and loud, it is hot and crowded, no fun at all. She has just turned 15 years old and looking for something to do.

It is then that she meets Amesh. He also works for the same company as her father. She finds him very attractive and really likes him. He is missing and arm, injured at his work he explains to her, and is now a delivery boy. He is able to get her to the job site where they discover a carpet. There is something about it that has them both excited, but especially Sara. She can feel some sort of power in it. They find a way to sneak it away without being seen, and take it back to the hotel. It is beautiful and seems to be made of some material that they had never seen before. Sara decides to see if she can cut a small piece off, and finds that it will not cut. She puts a lighter to it and it flies across the room.

Wow! They have discovered a flying carpet. While they discuss how they can keep their secret, they order up food, and clean up. As Amesh is in the shower, Sara surfs the internet and finds several articles about flying carpets. One of them talked about ley lines, magnetic lines that surrounded the earth, as being the fuel that helped them to fly. Sara learned the information as quickly as possible. They decide to see if they can find these ley lines, and if so, would they be able to operate the carpet. The compass should react abnormally when they were within the ley lines, so that is what they look for. Curiously enough, they found some ley lines and laid the carpet upon them. As they did several of the tassels folded and stood straight up looking like possible driving apparatus’s. They climbed on and off they went for a ride.

The carpet has its own agenda; it works for Sara and seems to communicate with her. She feels close to it almost as though it is a part of her. Amesh is very jealous and petulant, but refuses to leave her side because he is having trouble trusting her. His family is extremely poor and he sees the carpet as a way to riches.

The carpet takes them to another place, and even possibly another time, where they are guided by the carpet onto an island. It is here that Sara finds she can communicate with it. She also learns from the carpet that she is of the ancient lineage of the Kala, and is in fact a Royal Princess. This is why the carpet responds to her. It is the carpet of Ka, and is very important. While it communicates and answers many questions, it leaves many unanswered that she will have to find out for herself. There is something happening in her world and she will have to be the one to save them.

On the island they find a beautiful city consisting of towers. They find that this is where the Djinns are located. As they learn about these beings, they find there is good and evil involved. They can grant you three wishes, but there is a price. The first wish is for free, the second one requires something of you and the third makes you a thrall, or slave of the Djinn.

Amesh becomes enamored of this thought and at the first actual wish he surprises Sara by asking for a wealth of jewels instead of his arm. As he sees how his wish comes true, he becomes besotted with the Djinn, giving it even more power over him. He feels in control of the Djinn, instead of what is really occurring. The Djinn is gaining control over him. Thus emboldened he makes a second wish, that to get his arm back. Amazingly enough his arm is returned to him. As Sara protests and tries to let him know what he is getting himself into, his jealousy takes over. He feels that she just wants what he has. He and the Djinn take the carpet from her and head back to Turkey leaving her there on the island.

Sara is on her own, but finally runs into a very kind older man and a young woman. They put her to work on their farm, where she learns milking as well as pottery. As she learns the pottery she also learns more about the Djinn and how to control them. She feels responsible for Amesh and therefore must save him. One more wish will destroy him and it is up to her to keep that from happening.

How will Sara get home? Will she return and really be able to save Amesh from his own weaknesses.

This is a fun and fast paced story that keeps you guessing at what is going to happen. Just when you think you know where it is going, the story takes a twist and sends you into an entirely different direction.

While Sara is only 15 years old, she seems far older then she is. She is smart and caring, and just a bit of a handful. Amesh is a lonely young man, hurting and bedeviled at what life has thrown at him. He is very close to his family, but has allowed his weakness to guide him and become someone else. He is looking for revenge and puts his family at risk as he looks for answers.

This is a YA book and at times that is obvious. However as the story twists and turns it also makes for fun reading for book lovers of all ages. A rollercoaster of fun, enjoy.
The Secret of Ka available at Amazon

Rating 3/5

This book was recieved as an e-book, free though Netgalley. All opinions are my own based of my reading and understanding of the material.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman

Article first published as Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman on Blogcritics

At 10 years of age Camilla Lynn Miller died. She had lived just seven days longer then her twin brother Sammy. Her death was hardly noticed because she was an invisible child. Her life was fractured by the death of her twin and Camilla was no more. Her place was taken by a fragile little 10 year old girl, who now went by the name of Samantha.

Camilla’s family consisted of her Mom and Dad, her twin brother Sammy, and her older brother Jason. He had been watching over Sammy when he fell from the tree and died. Because of their bond Camilla had absorbed Sammy and now there was only Samantha.

As Samantha begins to heal, and the family attempts to come together, Jason struggles with his guilt over Sammy’s death. How much can a family deal with when another child dies, this one self inflicted.

Sam’s Mom Tara, shattered by the suicide, the unimaginable death of yet another child, retreated into a shell. Sam was placed in the background once again, and became a prisoner in her own home. Every thing revolved around her Mom and as Sam grew she planned on escaping. As she moved away from home for college she found the first very real family she had ever known in her friend Tracy.

This is a heartbreaking and tragic story of the damage inflicted through the total disconnect of a family. Will Samantha find what she is looking for? Will she learn to love and trust again?

As I read Restored Hope, I tried to gage my feelings about this book; I realized that when Brenda Youngerman wrote her character Camilla, she really is invisible. As I went back I could only find a shadow of the little girl. Jason was very much front and center and his interaction with Sammy was certainly well written. Through it all there was just this sweet little girl that only looked on. She was just a vague figure in the background, curiously fading in and out of the story.

Camilla lived vicariously through Sammy and they communicated almost telepathically at times; with Sammy’s death she had actually felt him die. She could feel herself, falling with him, flying to the ground as he fell from the tree. The pain is palpable and you feel it, as Camilla deals with his death in the only way she can, by becoming someone else.

The whole story was surreal, somewhat like having a dream. I could have been watching from underwater the scenes rippled and surged moving in unexpected directions, not at all clear.

While the story is a tragedy, it is also a story of hope and dreams, and how love can heal even the deepest wounds.

Sam was so disconnected that while I could feel her pain and see where it came from, I found myself somewhat impatient that she struggled so much with trust. I would imagine that you would have to walk in her shoes in order to really understand.

I would recommend this book for book club reading as well as discussion groups. It touches on so many of the issues of today.
Restored Hope
Rating 4/5

I Recieved this book free from the author. The opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

No Greater Sacrifice By John C. Stipa

Article first published as No Greater Sacrifice By John C. Stipa on Blogcritics

An unexpected summoning to France for the reading of a will draws together a strangely damaged group of individuals. Renee d’ Arcadia an archaeologist, recently diagnosed with terminal leukemia, David Arturo a war veteran with a troubled past, Paul Meehutch an extremely large, overweight man with a chip on his shoulder, but full of knowledge, and Gerard Tremblay assistant curator of the church where the reading is to take place, elderly and yet strangely spry.

This is just the beginning of a journey that will send them into the past, and involve them in a 100-year-old mystery resulting in the death of Father Berenger Sauniere, the parish priest of the Rennes-le-Chateau.

It will take all their wits and experience as well the hidden clues only hinted at in different works of literature, to find the truth. They must race against the clock to find the answers before a sinister group of individuals bent on evil and the destruction of the church, discover them. Gerard Tremblay has many of the answers and as he begins to fill them in, he too is brutally murdered. With danger and death at every turn will they find the answers in time?

What they find in each other will give them the strength to overcome evil and find the truth of the murder at the Rennes-le-Chateau.

"No Greater Sacrifice" is an intriguing book that is full of depth and extremely captivating. I am generally a quick reader, but because there was such an array of beautiful and interesting places and things, I took my time and savored the story. The characters were flawed and yet dynamic, demanding your pity or anger at times, and yet drawing your admiration in situation after situation. The interaction between them is funny and down to earth, displaying a real and human face that makes you miss them when they are gone.

Even with the immense amount of background surrounding the story, it was easy to follow. The clues were ingenuous and created a kind of “Indiana Jones” feel, with our friends ducking and dodging the dangers as they manifested.

John C. Stipa has created a fiction that makes you laugh and makes you cry; it is full of ugliness and beauty, and at every turn of the page, anticipation builds. There is a ribbon of hope weaved throughout the story, so while it is sometimes a bit dark, the hope ads a lightness that keeps the evil, which also twists its way though the story, at bay.

This is a great story and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries, romance and danger. John C. Stipa has created it all and set a pace that keeps you moving. This is a book quite reminiscent of the Da Vinci Code in the complexity of it’s theme.

This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. It is definitely one for your library, to be read and savored periodically when you are looking for a story full of hope.

Rating 5/5
No Greater Sacrifice

This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
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